Blog: Kenya Schools Project 2019

Oakham School students are returning to Kenya for the ninth time during February half term to support primary schools in rural Kenya. The groups will be helping to improve classroom conditions by renovating rooms and building desks, and they will also be supporting the staff by teaching some lessons.

Below are updates of the trip and to view the photogallery click here:

Group 1 and 2 Day 7

With buses loaded by 8am, both groups bade farewell to Naivasha, and headed back to Nairobi. On the way back to Wildebeest Eco Camp, we stopped to return the water bottles and some of us had a sneaky ice cream! Then we headed to the Maasai market to perfect our top haggling skills...many items were purchased, including Kenyan trousers and shorts, jewellery, paintings and souvenirs. It was a wonderful experience, and we all ended up with new “brothers” and “sisters”!! Back at camp we tucked into a lovely lunch, and a quick swim, before setting out to the safari game drive. Although not fortunate enough to see big cats, there were many other highlights, including a black rhino, giraffes, zebra, buffalo and some entertaining baboons! We also stopped to take a moment and learn about the impact of poaching elephants and rhinos, and saw the memorial of tusk and horn ashes. Once back and dressed to impress, we went out to Carnivores, a Kenyan restaurant with a fabulous atmosphere and enough food to sink a battleship! Mysteriously, (we can’t imagine how), the waiting staff believed it was Millie’s birthday, so we all had a sing, dance and some cake! We are all rather sleepy now, but get a lie-in tomorrow, and then off for a final day of fun...!

 Group 1 Day 6

This morning we all woke up excited for our fun filled day of teaching the children.  We had another lovely breakfast of pancakes and fresh fruit and then prepared our dance for the leaving ceremony before departing for the school. On our last cramped bus journey we amused the Kenyan pedestrians with our tuneful singing as we chugged along the road.

We were greeted by 12 buzzing classes of children...many more smiling faces then we were expecting. Marcie and Ollie’s lesson involved an entertaining orbit of inflatable planets. Eve and Danill taught the children various languages. Max and Annabel helped the children create small human skeletons in biology. Charlie and Tess taught their classes many interesting facts about cities around the world. Laura and Sammy raised the roofs with a rendition of the English national anthem, teaching the children about English culture. Rosie and Ollie quizzed their classes with a fact packed quiz. Lastly, Will, Annie and Tor challenged their pupils to make the tallest tower out of paper and sellotape! We all absolutely loved spending time with the children, they were all very sweet, caring and so enthusiastic! We were then all treated to an incredible Kenyan dance by some of the pupils shortly before we performed our own mashup song as a thank you and goodbye. Following the ceremony (all feeling a bit emotional) we handed out our Kenya t-shirts to each class, which really showed how worthwhile our fundraising efforts were as the children put them on immediately, as their eyes lit up!

After our delicious traditional lunch prepared by the school teachers we said our final farewells to everybody and headed back to camp. We returned back to camp feeling slightly tired and already missing the children.

This afternoon we enjoyed our final meal at Fishermen’s Camp and reflected on our splendid day! We are really looking forward to our next couple days in Kenya as we head to Nairobi early tomorrow morning.  

Marcie and Laura

Group 2 Day 6

Today was one of the most exciting but strenuous days so far. We have been eager to meet and teach the lively and adorable Kenyan children from the start of the trip and today this became a reality. It was hard for all Oakhamians to teach for the first time and the lessons did cause frustrations.  Although it was a tiring and stressful morning of intense teaching, everyone kept up their morale and enthusiasm.  Kitty and Paul were the leaders of the day and their class was fairly successful through the good use of teaching resources. The 'cultural introduction' class taught by Alicia, Millie and Fred was very popular and their music choices were so good that the children started to dance. Other groups' lessons were also praised by many students and staff.

Our lunch was the best so far on the trip. The staff in school had been cooking a traditional Kenyan meal all morning for us and we were thoroughly impressed by both the smell and the taste of the dishes.

After the big lunch was the leaving ceremony. We started by singing “Someone like you” by Adele showing our gratitude and all of us were getting emotional because no one wanted to leave the school. The children followed with a few goodbye songs that were also very touching. Both Mrs Gomm and the local principle gave heartfelt speeches to end the trip on a high. It has definitely been an emotional day for both us and the students and we hope one day we will meet again.

Kitty and Paul

Group 2 Day 5

Today has been non-stop. It began with a hearty breakfast consisting of cold beans and sausages. Full to the brim (having taken our malarone tablets) the group set off to the school and completed painting the murals as well as the rest of the walls, which was very satisfying. We also painted our own personal mural, the national animal of Kenya (a lion), the mane of which was made out of our hand prints. After an early/ very brief lunch, which was the best yet (chicken burger! and salad) we headed out to the large, dusty, no- shade field to host our sports games and activities. It was great fun. Everyone got stuck in and enjoyed themselves, despite the heat. Saying our quick goodbyes we rushed back to get on a boat with the hope of seeing hippos. We met the other group and headed out onto Lake Naivasha where we not only encountered hippos but also fish eagles.  We disembarked and took a short walking safari spotting giraffes and water buck along the way,which was a surprise. Upon returning to camp we had a lovely supper (bowl of mash) and rehearsed our songs and lessons for tomorrow- hooray.
Lots of love Millie and Alicia xx

Group 1 Day 5

After an early start, filled with pancakes and bacon, the group headed to the school to complete the final bits of painting and the “murial”. The final murals look amazing and will hopefully be greatly appreciated by the children and teachers- it was a great team effort. As 12 o’clock approached, Annie and I organised an eventful sports day where we split the children into a variety of countries and had an olympic themed afternoon. We led it with enthusiasm despite losing our voices and patience at time (not with the children of course!) A rush of children filled the field ready for the Mr Bess inspired warm up. Then the rotations of mini activities started and the afternoon was finished with an awards ceremony. Due to being leaders there was no time to rest, or have lunch. After a tiring day we headed back to camp and met group 2 to head off on our water safari, where we were greeted with giraffes. Despite being forewarned, some people weren’t very good at applying suncream, so we returned with a few red faces! Steak and chips at dinner was very much enjoyed by all this evening. Overall we are proud of what we completed today and look forward to spending more time with the children tomorrow.

Quote of the day: “Has this boat sunk before?”

Group 1 Day 4

After yesterday's learning through trial and error we began the day with much more confidence. Sunday’s briefing was inspirational, being crammed full of motivational quotes which invigorated and energised the group. Arriving at the school, after having enjoyed a lively bus journey, everyone bolted into action with enthusiasm. The group divided into teams and worked on the two classrooms. The first half an hour went by using the wrong paint and varnished desks being coated in a fine layer of dust; however, with extreme levels of productivity both classrooms are currently immaculately painted and ready to be furnished with the new desks. At one point local children poked their heads through their classroom windows for high fives and before we knew it a circle of 40 Oakham students and local children were playing Duck Duck Goose! One might describe the day as productive, fun, according to one person as ‘exquisite’, and described as ‘fabulous’ by Laura. We are all really looking forward to tomorrow’s mural painting and sports day. 

Quote of the day:


Tor and Will

Group 2 Day 4

Today we had a lot of work to do. We were all at breakfast on time today at 7:30 then met at 8:20 to leave for 8:30 to head off to the school. When we arrived at the school we delegated what jobs everyone needed to do and began the work. Some of the boys worked in the classroom while others worked outside re-painting the murals, finishing off the walls and desks. Some people were attacked by wasps so Gitau burned their nests to prevent further attacks. We were unable to return to camp as it was raining so we stayed at the school and sorted out tomorrow's sporting activities for the kids that have chosen to come in during their half term. When we got back to the camp we had about 2 hours of free time before having our fish fingers and chips for tea. We then packed all the T-shirts quickly but miscounted and were 50 short at the end. Finally we headed off back to our huts and relaxed until going to sleep at 10:30. 

Lisa and Tom

Group 1 Day 3

After yesterday’s introduction day we headed to the school with good spirits and excited for the day. We started off by clearing out the classrooms and preparing to paint. Some of us took on the task of digging up a classroom floor in preparation to re-lay it tomorrow. The rest of us cleared the classroom and began to plaster the holes in the walls. This required patience and persistence. As we waited for that to dry we began to sand the new desks which were bought from our personal fundraising money, it was lovely sitting in the sun during this. When we started painting the walls some school children came to help which was really nice as we got to socialise and get to know them. We began to varnish the desks which was very satisfying and relaxing! Overall it was a really enjoyable day and really showed us how much of a difference we are making for the school.

On our return to Fisherman’s Camp we were greeted by the sight of a hippo lying asleep by the lakeside. Later on we saw 4 hippos grazing right outside the restaurant area.

Max and Eve

Group 2 Day 3

Today was the first full day at Maua Primary school. We started out with a full stomach of pancakes and fresh fruit. We arrived at the school to meet the Deputy Headmistress, Rosiline ,who showed us around the school giving us specific jobs that would be beneficial. The boys started out taking rubble out of a class room that the school needed re-doing. The girls put a first coat of paint on the walls of two blocks of classrooms. All the children were overwhelmed and excited to see us at their school. During our work we would sing to help us along and we noticed that we had gathered a chorus. The children would join in and were so eager to get involved. They were amazed at our singing and insisted we sang Justin Bieber. At 11 the desk we ordered for the classrooms had arrived. We  sanded down the desks and varnished them. At midday, 4 students went down to a village stall to collect mangoes. With help from Bens haggling we walked away with 12 delicious mango’s. The day came to an end and it was amazing to see the work we had done in just one day.

Group 1 Day 2

Today we were woken up by sunshine and a lovely breakfast at the Wildebeest Eco Camp. It was an early start and a long, but tuneful journey to the primary school. On the way to the school Eve was offered fruit through the window many times by salesmen on the road. We stopped at an amazing viewpoint overlooking The Rift Valley and took lots of pictures from the cliff top.

The best part of the day had to be the incredible arrival at the school where we were met by 1000 children singing and dancing with massive smiles on their faces. After being led into the school, we were treated to a performance by pupils from a few of the classes with traditional music and we were encouraged to dance with them (Although our dancing was rather awkward in comparison). Sadly, we left the school and ventured to Fisherman’s Camp, where we had to postpone the boat safari due to the weather. Despite the hiccup, a big game of volley ball definitely lifted all of our spirits, where Sammy showed his natural ability! This was followed by a lovely candlelit meal on the veranda at the restaurant.

Group 2 Day 2

Today was the group’s first proper day in Kenya! We woke up at the Wildebeest camp and had a lovely breakfast all together with both groups before leaving on the bus and travelling to buy water for our trip over the week. Once we had collected the water we travelled to our school to meet the children. The experience was overwhelming, especially seeing how excited they were to see us at the school. Some of the girls had prepared a collection of dances for us, which we watched in their Hall and it was incredible to see their culture. Their confidence was amazing to see as they showed so much passion in what they were doing for us. We walked to the other camp where the boat safari was going to happen, but unfortunately the weather took a turn for the worse. So we decided to stay with the other group and socialise before we went back to our camp.
We are all really excited to wake up tomorrow and go to the school to start our work for them!

Alice and Alex 

Group 1 Day 1

We arrived safe and sound in Nairobi after a long but smooth flight. Flying with British Airways is always a pleasure. We were met at the airport by Grace, our in-country guide, and we were very efficient at loading our luggage onto the bus. We even managed a rousing rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” as we drove to our accommodation. We’re staying at an Eco-camp tonight - not much to see at this time of night but it’s very peaceful and promises to be impressive in the morning. Big day tomorrow so time for bed now!

Group 2 Day 1

Today we all woke up really early in order to leave at 3.30am, after a questionable night’s sleep in Gunthorpe common room! Everyone was exhausted and spent most of our trip to the airport asleep on the bus.

Once we arrived at Heathrow, and had checked in everything, we had about and hour to shop or get food. We then boarded the plane in order to begin our 8 hour flight to Nairobi.

Many movies later, we arrived in Nairobi and made our way through security and reclaimed our baggage. The weather is very different to England; it’s a lot hotter and more humid. We split into two buses to get to Wildebeest Eco Camp, and the drivers put all our luggage on the top of the bus! At first we thought it was a bit risky, but everything turned out fine! After a short coach journey, we arrived at the camp where we settled into our rooms and had a light supper of squash and pepper soup with bread, before bed. A tiring first days but there are many exciting adventures to come....!

Sylvia and Zena


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